Album Review – Motorhead – Sacrifice

January 22, 2018 — Leave a comment

Motorhead – Sacrifice (1995)

“This is a Very Good Album. Put it in your system and your girlfriend’s clothes fall off.” – Lemmy’s thank yous from the Sacrifice album jacket

The music video for Sacrifice’s title track features a demonic-looking Lemmy with bulging red eyes, just in time for his 50th birthday and generally having the time of his life. Mikkey Dee, no longer the fresh new guy in the lineup and overjoyed to have this gig, throws down a confident mini drum break in there too. If you’ve seen Motorhead perform “Sacrifice” live, you also know that that drum solo stretches on quite a bit longer than it does in the studio!

The next ten songs after that hot start have a loose spirit going for them too. Not that the songwriting is any less competent than usual, but Sacrifice to me sounds like their most “off-the-cuff” material of the period. “We wrote ‘Sex and Death’ in ten minutes on the last day of rehearsal,” reminisces Lemmy in White Line Fever. “I changed the lyrics once we were recording, but that’s always the way it goes.”

Indeed: “The answer to life’s mystery / is simple and direct / sex and death!”

1. Sacrifice
2. Sex and Death
3. Over Your Shoulder
4. War For War
5. Order/Fade To Black
6. Dog-Face Boy
7. All Gone to Hell
8. Make em Blind
9. Don’t Waste Your Time
10. In Another Time
11. Out of the Sun

As one of Lemmy’s personal favorite Motorhead records, the songs on Sacrifice have a number of unique elements to them. The cool, separated guitars on “War For War” and the guitar solo on “All Gone to Hell” stand out unlike almost anything else in the Motorhead canon. The two-part, slow-to-fast “Order/Fade to Black” is a fine middle placeholder.

And in a move towards the end of the record that I wish more metal bands would try, England’s finest throw in a modified Bo Diddley beat on “Make Em Blind,” a bass solo on the outro of “Out of the Sun,” and upbeat saxophone and piano on “Don’t Waste Your Time.”

True to form, Motorhead’s competency at recording was unadulterated regardless of what was going on upstairs in band management’s office, or between band members personally (this would be Wurzel’s last studio recording with them). To hear them tell it, the attitude difference between Wurzel and Phil Campbell was like night and day: Wurzel was apparently disengaged and quiet, while Phil would fall over the couch, collapsing in laughter while he recorded his solos in one take.

Thus, Sacrifice fulfills the purpose that Motorhead’s better work always does: the auditory equivalent of a quick, hot, always-good roll in the sack.

Lemmy Kilmeister (RIP)
Phil Campbell
Wurzel (RIP)
Mikkey Dee

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Author’s Note: Part of a deep dive series on Motorhead. Read the rest of the series:

Ace of Spades
Another Perfect Day
Rock N’ Roll
Bad Magic
RIP Lemmy


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